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Phase/Time aligning drum tracks....Recorderman??

Discussion in 'Drums' started by Bob Mould, Aug 6, 2002.

  1. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    Theres an interesting topic going on at the music player forum about this, especially this guy Jay stating that phase reversing all drum mics except the kick mic is a good thing..
    Whats your opinion on the subject?...

    http://www.musicplayer.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=003493

    /mike
     
  2. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Well....let's say that you have a polarity tester, and you know that your kick mic is in absolute positive phase. In my experiance, the top snare mic, in 99 percent of the places that I'd put it, would cause undesireable phase cancellation, if all I was monitoring was the single kick and snare mic together, and if I phase reversed the snare mic relative to the kick mic. The key phrase here is "undesireable"....there is ALWAYS phase shift going on anytime you have two or more mics on the same source.
    Generally, after I've meticulously (and quickly...getting bogged down is almost as detrimental to doing it wrong and leaving it)
    Placed my mics, I only need to flip polarity on the bottom mics, and/or some combination of the ambient/room mics. Personally, I place the mics such that if I were only using OH's, Kick and snare they're in phase. That's because close to "in phase" has the null point at a pleasing frequency, making the drums sound punchier. Since my placement accounts for this (phase) I rarely need to flip polarity on the close mics (except for the aformentioned bottom mics).
    I check (quickly) about every combination of mics against each other (focusing on the Kick/snare/OH relationship(s) against/with: toms (indidvidual and as a group) room and ambient mics.

    George Massenburgd comment on doing this (sliding room mic tracks for phase) was interesing. I believe he was speaking about mixing stuff recorded by other engineers (I believe the context he was metioning was in referrence to "live" recordings).
     
  3. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    what about that guy jays comment on postive waveforms makes the speakers push air forwrd at attack?
    For me usually the kick mic is 180 out of phase to the OH's and the snare mic, so i normally just flip the phase on the kick. How do you go about getting the kick in phase with the OH's and snare without reversing phase?

    thanks
    mike
     
  4. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    This is the result of the OH's being out of phase with the kick. Get a absolute phase polarity checker (Gold Line sells one...best one I saw was at O'Henry studios....made by Jim Hardy of the Hardy M1 mic pre fame). Make sure all of your mic's and the chains they go through are in phase( that measn a positive waveform entering the mic results inthe speaker moving forward).

    Ceck out the "Overhead Phase" thread.

    Kick being the instrument with the most low energy and therefore the most afected by phase should be the one that is left alone if it's chain (mic,pre,compressor,eq,ect) shows it to be absolutly in phase...instead reposition OH's and/or flip polarity on them instead.

    I find Jay's comments to be 180 degrees out of phase with my own personal experiance.
    :w:
     
  5. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    thanks recorderman :)

    Well i've tried your technique described in the overhead phase thread a couple of times and gotten excellent results using it. Thanks for sharing it! :tu: I relly like it for "acoustic" drum sounds that need to sound natural.

    Do you use that technique for heavy rock music aswell?, sometimes i get the feeling that the stereoimage is to wide and i dont get enough edge of the cymbals micing like that,

    /mike
     
  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Hmmm....stereo image should be fine. But it does put the cymbals down and away from the snare/toms/kick. Otherwise (for that cymbal in your face) I might do 451's as a space pair, or 3 451's on the outside of the kit looking into the kit...Left, center, and front. Or not. Maybe my technique and some spot mics on the ride (sm7) , and ice cymbal (if he's got one of those), ect.
     
  7. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    thanks..... :tu:

    /mike
     
  8. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    I do this a lot, but I just flip the kick 0 if needed. Is there any reason to flip phase on everything else (except the kick)?
     
  9. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    absolutely.....just to check. It's amazing how many tracks I work on that have phase issues.
    Flipping the polarity to hear which way is "right". Many, stock, learned mic placements will get you way in the ball park with out resorting to this. Afterall how many engineers do you know who do this (not many...or none?). They can't all be wrong right? Well.... for me they are....just listen to the OH's alone on most tracks recorded by most engineers. Forget that the the balance is usually smeared. Start adding tracks to the OH's....K....S...Tom 1....ect. See how often that there's a phase issue. LOT"S of times in my experiance. That's why minimal mic set-ups sound so fat and punchy right off the bat. If you're going to use alot of mic's....then check polarity.
     
  10. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    I dig what you're saying, but my question is:

    Flipping the phase on the kick = Flipping phase on everything accept the kick

    right?
     
  11. pan

    pan Guest

    Not exactly the same, e-cue - your woofers will come out on the first kick-punch if not phase-reversed (and "correctly" recorded).

    I'd call it "absolute phase"

    It is really not a big difference, though.

    Niko
     
  12. Bob Mould

    Bob Mould Member

    stupid question maybe: does flipping phase cause any sonic degradation in the signal?
     
  13. pan

    pan Guest

    ...err, you might punch out your mixbus by flipping the phase of a kickdrum *relative* to the rest of the kit;)
    But flipping *absolute* phase of a signal causes no degradation in itself.

    peace
     
  14. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    E-cue....what I mean is to flip the phase to "check" which way sounds better. The day before last I tracked drums....real fats and dirty (for me)....Just through things up real quick...the OH's were thwe ones that needed flipping...I could have flipped the kick, but it was fatter when not.

    As a side note: you can perceive absolute phase...even on vocals. One time I was working with mixerman, and we were talking about absolute phase, I had recently purchased my phase clicker and was hyping it up...he was arguing that it was hype...untill I solo'd the vocal and flipped phase back and forth, we were amazed that there was a difference that we could percieve...it is true.

    anyway, back to the subject. I'm just advocating the practice of a quick comparison of each new mic against the whole, as you bring it up.
     
  15. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    E-cue....what I mean is to flip the phase to "check" which way sounds better. The day before last I tracked drums....real fats and dirty (for me)....Just through things up real quick...the OH's were thwe ones that needed flipping...I could have flipped the kick, but it was fatter when not.

    As a side note: you can perceive absolute phase...even on vocals. One time I was working with mixerman, and we were talking about absolute phase, I had recently purchased my phase clicker and was hyping it up...he was arguing that it was hype...untill I solo'd the vocal and flipped phase back and forth, we were amazed that there was a difference that we could percieve...it is true.

    anyway, back to the subject. I'm just advocating the practice of a quick comparison of each new mic against the whole, as you bring it up.
     
  16. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    so if you were to use 1 mic, provided it's phase wasn't flipped, could it still get messed up in the mixdown by the bass, etc? how do you do you deal with this, if it is a prob?

    --o
     
  17. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    no. one mic is one mic and therefore what ever it has recorded is no worse than it's position relative to the source. As far as the 'absolute phase' of that one mic...well you always have the choice, up to and including the mixdown. You can get real picky...but as a general rule, you only need to worry about phase between two or more sources (&/or tow or mor mics on a single source, ect); and absolute phase on transient low freq stuff (i.e. kick), and the human voice (an asymetrical source...more energy on one side of the zero axis, than the other).
     

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